Support For Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Support For Alzheimer's Caregivers Two women-one older, and one younger smiling.

Support for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

What is Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is not a mental illness, but it can cause a decline in mental function that can disrupt one’s daily life. Alzheimer’s is a neurological disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, eventually making it difficult to perform basic tasks. It’s the most common type of dementia, and it involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language.

Being the primary caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s disease can be physically and emotionally draining. Over time, Alzheimer’s disease alters a person’s mental abilities, behaviors, independence, and physical abilities.

Research Activities and Details

Research has shown that the constantly changing needs of people with the disease can take an enormous toll on caregivers. Studies show that the risk for illness and depression among Alzheimer’s caregivers increases significantly, especially when caregivers do not receive adequate support from family, friends, or community resources.

The stresses related to caring for patients with Alzheimer’s disease can be such a burden that sometimes caregivers are referred to as “hidden” patients.

Caregivers For Alzheimer’s Patients Have Options They Must Consider

Caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s will have frequent contact with their loved one’s physician, so it is important to feel comfortable asking questions and seeking clarification when information is unclear.

The following tips can improve communication with medical staff:

Rephrase important points

If you are unclear on a specific point, try putting it into your own words and repeating it back to the doctor as you understand it. This alerts the medical staff to any misunderstandings you may have and allows them to clarify important information.

If you still have questions after you leave the office, do not be afraid to call later. Remember that the doctor is your employee and it is their job to provide your loved one with the best care possible.

Write notes

If you need help remembering terminology used by medical doctors, do not be afraid to write notes for future reference. It is also a good idea to write questions before appointments. It is often all too easy to be wrapped up at the moment during medical visits and forget the things you may have wanted to ask while you were at home.

As you provide care for your loved one, you may find that, as their condition worsens, your health suffers. Studies indicate that as many as half of all primary caregivers experience significant psychological stress which can include depression. It is easy to become so focused on your loved one that you neglect your health.

To provide the best care possible, you will need to monitor your health. Symptoms of stress can include denial, anger, social withdrawal, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, sleeplessness, irritability, lack of concentration, and health problems. If you feel overwhelmed, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Caregivers often experience five different emotional stages as they care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. The stages can occur in any order and some may overlap.

Denial

It is human nature to struggle when coming to grips with life-altering bad news. Managing denial can be easier when caregivers are educated about what to expect next, as it is often fear of the unknown, which makes some people want to deny the truth. Being forewarned helps prepare caregivers to manage events as they occur.

Over-involvement

Caregivers sometimes feel an immense responsibility to care for every need of their loved ones. Adult children often feel that, because their parents cared for them through childhood, they are obligated to meet their parents’ needs now.

It’s an unrealistic expectation because many adult children of Alzheimer’s patients are still raising their children and may also be trying to fit in a job plus obligations to their communities. Recognizing that there are in-home services available to help care for people with Alzheimer’s is only part of the solution to reducing over-involvement. Accepting help is essential.

Anger

Alzheimer’s disease is progressive by nature, so even with excellent care, patients with Alzheimer’s will eventually deteriorate. For some caregivers, witnessing continued deterioration despite giving their best efforts and sacrificing much in the process can cause frustration and anger.

For others, scars from the past can resurface as caring for their loved one takes a toll on their resources including everything from finances to quality of sleep. Finding a support group can help caregivers vent their frustrations in a healthy and supportive environment. Support groups are available in nearly every city across the country.

Guilt

People who experience anger may later feel guilty. For others, guilt is not a problem. Until they are faced with the reality that they may have to ask for additional help to keep their loved ones in a safe environment where they will receive the kind of care they deserve.

Support from family and friends who understand how difficult the decisions are can go a long way toward relieving the guilt. It may also help to seek help from a local Alzheimer’s support group.

Acceptance

Most caregivers will experience acceptance when they understand the impact Alzheimer’s has on patients and caregivers. Support and education can move caregivers toward acceptance.

Few journeys in life will be more stressful or demanding than caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s caregivers must learn how to cope with their feelings about what is happening to their loved ones while continuing to provide the best care possible.

Caregivers who educate themselves and who learn to accept help from available resources often handle the inevitable stress that comes with caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease the best.

Summary

We hope this will help with your caregiving duties and provide you with some good ideas to try. Caring for someone with health issues is not easy, and if you have other obligations such as children, you will have to find ways to prioritize your schedule.

For additional information and support check the website- of the Alzheimer’s Association

Caring For Elderly Parents

Note: We always research our subjects, however, it is important before you take any action to your or another’s health that you consult with your primary doctor. We do not claim to be health professionals.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.